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John Barnes: Why I’m backing Harry Kane to win the Golden Boot at Euro 2021

John Barnes believes that England striker Harry Kane will win the golden boot.
John Barnes believes that England striker Harry Kane will win the golden boot.

BettingOdds.com has teamed up with England legend and former Liverpool, Newcastle and Watford winger John Barnes to give us his insight in the lead up to this summer's Euro 2021 Championships…

This Friday the inaugural match of Euro 2020 takes place as Turkey face Italy, the side who won the third edition of the competition back in 1968. 

With the tournament approaching fast, England legend John Barnes has been making his predictions and he’s backing the national team’s captain Harry Kane to beat the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kylian Mbappe to win the prestigious Golden Boot award.

In the latest of our series of interviews with the former England winger, John tells BettingOdds.com how far he thinks England will go at Euro 2020, who he thinks will win player of the tournament and which club he believes Harry Kane should move to this summer. 

 

With the tournament commencing this Friday, it would be good to get some predictions from you regarding how Euro 2020 is going to pan out. First things first, how far do you believe England can go in the tournament?

“I think we will get to the semi-finals, but if we don’t know who we’re going to play then I can’t say we will get to the final. Even in the quarter-finals we don’t who we’re going to play so can we go past the quarter-finals?

“Quarter-finals or semi-finals is what I expect and anything past that is a bonus.”

 

Who are you backing to be the top scorer in the competition? Harry Kane is currently the bookies favourite...

“I think Harry Kane can be the top scorer, because of the way we play he will score the goals. England are a team that just relies on him to score the goals, which is what’s happened over the years. 

“Teams like Spain share the goals around and they don’t necessarily have one main goalscorer and neither does Germany.”

The likes of Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Matthijs de Ligt, Kai Havertz and Joao Felix will all represent their respective countries at Euro 2020, but who do you believe will be named Young Player of the Tournament?

 

“You can look at any of the young players. A lot of the other teams have got experienced players, good experienced players and that’s probably why they’ve beaten England in the past. 

“England have relied too heavily on youth and players like Phil Foden aren’t players you should rely on to win the tournament.”

 

...and now your prediction for Player of the Tournament

“I think Kevin De Bruyne will go close. I can’t imagine England will have one player at the tournament who stands out and is the superstar.

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Onto Virgil van Dijk, a player who isn’t going to be participating in Euro 2020 due to injury. He’s expected to be ready to return to playing at the start of next season, do you believe him coming back into the Liverpool side will act as the catalyst behind the team winning the Premier League title back from Manchester CIty?

“He will be the catalyst alongside another centre-back, whether that’s Joe Gomez or Ibrahima Konate. The first choice centre-backs will be the catalyst behind Liverpool challenging. 

“Even if Van Dijk was in the side last season, it doesn’t mean that they would have won the league ahead of Manchester City anyway as Liverpool were inconsistent before Virgil’s injury. However, there’s no doubt that Liverpool would have been better with him in the side and they would have performed better with him.

“I’m sure Virgil will come back as fit as ever because he’s not far away now plus he’s going to miss Euro 2020. We will see the old Liverpool next year.”

 

Liverpool’s front three came under scrutiny as a collective last season. Do you believe it’s time to break them up?

“Not at all. The front three are suited to the way that Liverpool play and I don’t think they could have a better front three.

“When the three of them first came to Liverpool, I don’t believe that the mega clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United would have wanted any of them individually, but because of the way that Jurgen Klopp plays and the template that he has for all of his players suits Liverpool and it suits that front three. 

“I can’t see Mohamed Salah going anywhere else and doing the same job and the same goes for Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. 

“Speaking of Roberto Firmino, if Liverpool got Robert Lewandowski for example who scored 41 league goals this season, then Salah and Mane wouldn’t be able to play the same way. You shouldn’t just look at individual players for their quality and go ‘let’s sign him’. You should try and find players that suit the team.

“I don’t think there’s a front three in the world that would suit Liverpool more than those front three. The problem they had this season was that they had their main centre-backs missing and Jurgen Klopp has said it himself, it’s like an orchestra, when one part of that orchestra, never mind two parts, are missing then everything else is going to fall down.

“Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson also didn’t play as well this season and that too was to do with the centre-backs missing and nothing to do with them individually. That’s why I would like that group to remain together for at least another year.”

 

One of the transfer stories of the summer so far is that England captain Harry Kane is determined to leave Tottenham in the transfer window. Manchester City and Manchester United are supposedly the two frontrunners for the player but are you surprised that your old team Liverpool aren’t in the race for Kane?

“I don’t know if Liverpool are interested in Harry Kane? Who knows?

“There are people out there who know more about where the future of Harry Kane lies than we do. Why would Liverpool then publicly show their interest in him and get potentially knocked back? People will start going ‘Oh well Liverpool aren’t a big club because Harry Kane rejected them’.

“Not every top player is going to be wanted by every top club, but that doesn’t mean that Liverpool don’t think Harry Kane is a good player. 

“He needs to find the best place for him to go and I don’t necessarily believe that place is Liverpool. 

“Harry Kane has been able to do what he’s done because he’s been playing for Tottenham, because at Spurs Harry is the number one player, he’s the talisman who creates and scores goals for them. He won’t be that at Manchester City because they have Kevin De Bruyne.

“I don’t think he will be able to replicate the way he plays at Tottenham if he moved to Manchester City because City likes to share the goals around the team, but at Tottenham you’re looking at Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to provide you with the goals.

“He will win trophies wherever he goes but I don’t think he will be as impactful at Manchester City as he will be surrounded by superstar players. Take Jack Grealish for example, if he left Aston Villa then he wouldn’t be able to have that same impact at one of the huge clubs and the same goes for Wilfried Zaha at Crystal Palace.

 “I believe that Manchester United would be the most suitable destination for Harry Kane.”

 

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A player who wasn’t selected in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad was Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham. His lack of game time under Thomas Tuchel has baffled many fans and pundits alike, but would you take him at your former club Liverpool?

“If you’re talking about a squad, then of course any team would take Tammy Abraham, but does Tammy Abraham want to be a squad player?

“Is he going to leave Chelsea where he’s a squad player to go to Liverpool to do the same thing and potentially play even less than he is at his current club?”

 

Onto another of your former sides Newcastle. At the backend of the season, loan signing Joe Willock was in magnificent form as the Toon Army secured their status as a Premier League side for another year. If you were Steve Bruce, would you be doing everything possible to sign him on a permanent deal?

 

“I watched him a couple of times for Arsenal before he went to Newcastle and every time he started or came off the bench he’s done well and I’ve always liked him and they like him a lot.

“He needed the experience and he wanted to play so it was a great move for both himself and Newcastle by heading there on loan but next year I think he will feature more heavily at Arsenal. 

“Unless he had such a good time at Newcastle that he wants to stay there permanently rather than stay at Arsenal, but I still think he can give it a go at Arsenal because Arteta is playing youth.

“You have Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka for example and Willock will be given time and support in that team so even though things went really well for him at Newcastle, I do believe that he will stay at Arsenal.”

 

Keep tuned for more John Barnes content for BettingOdds.com as we lead up to Euro 2021 which begins this Friday with Turkey versus Italy. 

 

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